Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teaser Tuesday #139: Shadow Fall

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Anyone can play along. Just go HERE to learn how to participate.

This week my teasers come from 
Shadow Fall #1 by Audrey Grey:
Teasers: I am a monster now, just like him. A beautiful, vengeful monster. And in this game of monsters Nicolai has constructed, becoming something else, something that feels, means I lose.
(Loc 34%, 2020 of 5876)

What are you reading this week?
Share a teaser with me!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Once She Dreamed part 1 - Review

Once She Dreamed #1

By: Abbi Glines

Published: October 10, 2016 by Smashwords

107 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library 

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Everyone in the small country town, Sammy Jo Knox had been born and raised, never left. They made their life there. Got married, had kids, lived in the same houses that were always there along the streets that never changed. The whole white picket fence and tree swing might look good on greeting cards but in real life it was boring, at least to Sammy Jo.

When Sammy Jo was a little girl she began dreaming of something bigger. Brighter. Something that wasn’t her town. She wanted to see the world and experience it all. Just how she was going to do that she had no idea. Because if her momma had her way she’d marry one of the boys in town and be spitting out babies and going to church on Sunday with them all lined up in a row.

The day Hale Christopher Jude III walked into the bakery she worked at, she knew he was it. That part of life she was missing. He smelled of foreign places and exciting things. He represented all the bright lights she dreamed of and simply put she hoped he was her way out of this place.

What Sammy Jo didn’t realize was things that appear perfect… aren’t. And chasing her dreams could lead to something very different.
My first thought was "aw man, this is super short!" However, what I discovered after reading it is that this is intended to be a "novella series". I honestly didn't know that was such a thing and I definitely didn't know this before coming across it. But for $.99 I didn't mind snatching it up since I had some gift card money left over. It's not super deep or emotional, but it's entertaining and a super fast read for YA/NA contemporary romance fans.

Set in Alabama, which Abbi tends to write a lot about since she lives there (as do I), I appreciated the use of real town names: Moulton, Cullman, Florence. Small town girl, Sammy Jo, lives in Moulton, Alabama. And let me tell you, having lived near there for a year and half during my sophmore year through junior year of high school, I can atest to the fact that Moulton is indeed a very small, country town. For the purpose of the story, I thought the town choice was fantastic. A small town where most people are farmers and nobody leaves - they go to school, get married, have kids, rinse and repeat. Sammy Jo wants MORE than that life though. She wants to see the world. She wants to experience big city living. She wants to travel and live an adventure outside of Alabama. So when "Mr. Expensive" walks in the bakery where she works, and then keeps coming back, she becomes enamoured with him and what his appearance of wealth might mean for her. Such that when he offers her a job taking care of his penthouse in New York City she nervously takes a leap of faith and accepts.

However the vibe we get once she gets settled in and Mr. Hale comes for a stay at his penthouse, is that he may be more than a legit buisnessman, he's secretive at best about his work, and he may want more from her than just her cooking and cleaning skills. One thing is clear though, he intends to change her to look the new part of the city girl - country girl in plain clothes just won't work in New York City. Even her name isn't going to work for the circles of people he's around. The question remained in my head, how much is she willing to change for this new world?

That's about where the story ends. Like I said, it's short so we really just get the foundation of what's to come in book two. We get a bit of juice before it ends leaving you wanting more. I'm intrigued and will be immediately snatching up book two when it releases.

Top Favorite Quotes:
"Guess when you love someone, where they are is where you'll be."

"Just remember Sammy Jo, not all fairy tales are real, true or wise. Firstly, they are tales. There's more to a man than his money and what he can gift you with his wallet. It's his heart that matters most."

"That's why," he said softly as his lips finally broke. "We fit. Perfectly together."

Language: 1 (light)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Monday, November 28, 2016

Empire (Eagle Elite #7) - Review

Empire (Eagle Elite #7)

By: Rachel Van Dyken

Published: May 31, 2016

376 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

I have lost everything. 
My purpose. 
My love. 
My soul. 
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle--the promise I made her, brings me back. 
So I breathe. 
I live. 
I hate. 
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. 
I am broken, I dont want to be fixed. 
One last trip to New York, one last chance to redeem a lost part of the mafia family. The Empire is crumbling and it's my job to fix it, my job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago. 
The only issue is, the only way to fix, is to do something I swore I'd never do again. 
An arranged marriage. 
Only this time. 
I won't fall. 
Or so help me God, I'll kill her myself. 
My name is Sergio Abandanoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate--you have no idea. 
I am the mafia. 
I am the darkness. 
Blood in. No out.
Although not as emotional a book as book six Elude was, this second part to Sergio's story, was a process of deep sorrow, guilt and shame before there was healing. Grieving over his dead wife he learns of a plan set in place by Luca Neclosi. His now dead mentor, and mob boss. With so much respect for the man, Sergio will follow his last wishes flawlessly without argument. That doesn't mean that he's willing to hand over his wounded heart to another woman though. Protect with his life, his name, that he can do for her.

His dead wife, Andi, has a way of speaking to him from her grave. She carefully and methodically created a plan to take care of Sergio after she was gone. She loved him enough to want him to move on, to marry and have children, and live a life of happiness she wanted with him but was not granted. Afterall, she knew she was never meant to be his in the first place. Unbeknownst to him, he was meant to be saved for another girl but got Andi first as a deal Luca made with her - protection from her Russian mob father and someone to care for her as she dies.

Unfortunately I do have two small irritations. In the Kindle version I read there was very odd and choppy, run-on and fragmented sentences. I'm not sure if that was intended or not. I think likely not because there would be punctuation in the middle of a thought that was clearly out of place. A second frustration that always annoys me is when a main character's eye color suddenly changes. Two things must occur for this to happen. #1 - the author forgot halfway through the story what color eyes his/her character has. #2 - it was an editing blunder that didn't get caught. Either way - UGH! Near the end of book six, Elude, Andi says that the girl Sergio was always meant for, has hazel eyes. "Her eyes are this killer hazel that I know guys have the capacity to get lost in." (97%) Not far from this quote, Sergio sees a picture of the girl and sure enough, he confirms her eyes being hazel. Fast forward then to 97% in to book seven. Sergio says his favorite color is brown, the exact color of her eyes. NOPE! This slightly ruined the moment for me.

Two words: Mafia Romance. Probably one of my favorite romance themes to read about. Check out my earlier reviews from this series:

Book one: Elite (5 stars) - Nixon's story
Book two: Elect (4.5 stars) - Chase's story
Book three: Entice (4 stars) - continuation of Chase and Nixon's stories
Book four: Elicit (4.5 stars) - Tex's story
Book five: Ember (4 stars) - Phoenix's story
Book six: Elude (5 stars) - Sergio's story, part 1

Top Favorite Quotes:
To make eye contact with Sergio Abandonato was to know both pain and beauty simultaneously.

"I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood will be spilled."

"But the really great part about being human is our hearts grow, they make room, they have no parameteres for how big or how much they can love, and even though I'm not worthy, I'm honored that you're willing to share space with someone I loved..."

Language: 2 (medium)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Post #197

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.

Once She Dreamed #1 by Abbi Glines
Buy Link: Amazon ($.99 deal)

The Blessed Knights (The Angel Knights #2) by Mary Ting
Buy Link: Amazon




This was a wonderfully relaxing week since my kids had off school and husband had off work Thursday and Friday. We did travel some for the holiday and was blessed to see some extended family we don't usually get to see. Over the weekend we decorated outside and inside the house for Christmas and finally I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Just like the other Harry Potter movies, it was quite magical (pun not intended) how they bring these images to the big screen. I didn't read this book so I can't comment as to how close or not the movie is to it. However, our group all really enjoyed it!

You still have time to enter the Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway if you haven't already done so. Don't miss out on your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

Have a great week friends! Don't forget to be awesome!

If you are reading last books in a series you should participate with us in our 3rd year of the 2016 Series Ender Reading Challenge! Anyone can sign up to participate until December 15, 2016! Go HERE for full details and to sign up. We have a giveaway EVERY month open to those that link up reviews and a BIG giveaway open to everyone that participates through the year. Don't miss out!

Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge: November Wrap Up

Time for our eleventh Monthly Wrap Up for the 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the October Wrap Up, Sandy has finished two series ender this month: November Snow (Bad Bloods, # 2) by Shannon A Thompson & Opposition (Lux, # 5) by Jennifer L Armentrout. Holly hasn't finished any series enders this month.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the November giveaway runs from November 25th - December 25th. On December 26th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

6th Annual Black Friday Book Bonanza

Black Friday Hop
Hosted by Reading Reality and Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Enter below to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Giveaway is open to all areas that can receive an Amazon gift card.
The winner has 24 hours to reply before another winner is chosen.
Good luck!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Elude (Eagle Elite #6) - Review

Elude (Eagle Elite #6)

By: Rachel Van Dyken

Published: July 9, 2015

341 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

This book is the sixth book in the internationally bestselling Eagle Elite Series. It's an interconnected stand alone novel with no cliffhanger.

Twenty-Four hours before we were to be married--I offered to shoot her.
Ten hours before our wedding--I made a mockery of her dying wish.
Five hours before we were going to say our vows--I promised I'd never love her.
One hour before I said I do--I vowed I'd never shed a tear over her death.
But the minute we were pronounced man and wife--I knew.

I'd only use my gun to protect her.
I'd give my life for hers.
I'd cry.
And I would, most definitely, lose myself, to a dying girl---a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.

I always believed the mafia would be my end game--poisoning my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.

Or the beginning of something beautiful.

The beginning of her.

The end of us.
Good. Grief! This book ya'll - it brought out the tears in a BIG way! I've been a fan of this series from the beginning. From book one it drew me in and kept me wanting more every single time. It's not uncommon for these books to make me teary eyed, because each one usually has an emotional aspect to it. But this book - Sergio's story, was heart breaking. It definitely caused all the feels for me in a personal way.

I've viewed Sergio as sort of the outcast of the group for a while now, but especially after some revelations in book five. By the other mob bosses he's forced to marry someone he barely knows and doesn't really like, partially to prove he is still loyal to the five families - for which he, himself, is an Abandanato, cousin to mob boss Nixon. For starters, the girl he's being forced to marry is a Russian mafia princess. That alone makes her his enemy. Secondly, she's dying of cancer and doesn't have much time left, months if she's lucky. Building a wall around his heart has never been an issue before. His "job" requires him to be like stone where his emotions are concerned. But Andi brings out more feelings from him than he was willing to give her.

Speaking of Andi, I really enjoyed her high energy, spirited personality and just overall love of life. This girl has serious joy that naturally spreads to those around her. Elude is told in alternating POV's between Andi and Sergio.

I love the mafia storyline. I love the romance. I love the Eagle Elite guys (Nixon, Chase, Tex, Phoenix and now Sergio) and the women who love them. I love the loyalty to family. This story though, it proves that not every one has a "happily-ever-after", and sometimes, you have to just enjoy the moments you are given. Have a tissue handy when proceeding with this one!

Two words: Mafia Romance. Check out my earlier reviews:

Book one: Elite (5 stars) - Nixon's story
Book two: Elect (4.5 stars) - Chase's story
Book three: Entice (4 stars) - continuation of Chase and Nixon's stories
Book four: Elicit (4.5 stars) - Tex's story
Book five: Ember (4 stars) - Phoenix's story

Goodreads says this is a "standalone with no cliffhanger". I would highly recommend these books be read in order though as the characters and names that come up would not make much sense to the reader who just randomly picked up book 6. Plus, the adoration for these guys and everything they've been through wouldn't be there without first seeing how it all began.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
A husband always protects his wife, regardless of his feelings. Once you're married,  you're blood. You share something precious, something eternal.

"Forgiveness is never given in order to make peace with the offender. It's given to make peace with yourself."

"...sometimes our choices aren't just about us - but the people that love us, the people that have to stand by and watch us suffer."

"Regardless of the journey, of how hard it was, of how hard it is or how short - the time - we still had it - and that, my friend, is a beautiful ending."

And that's how life is measured - not by the length, but by the strength of those moments spent together.

Language: 2 (medium)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 5 stars
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